Jessica Tait

I enjoyed the Leslie Hawthorne talk. I thought that, although she did not think of herself as much of a public speaker, she kept her audience interested and entertained throughout. I particularly liked how she put social networking into perspective. Although I do not have a Facebook page and don’t use Twitter, she gave good advice to those who do that they should avoid over sharing and becoming overly comfortable behind their computer screens. This is a really simple concept that people often forget, or they do not understand the significance of what they type. Since people cannot see others viewing what they have written, it is easy to not realize what the words that you type might mean to someone else. This is a big issue that is growing in magnitude in our society because of the rapid growth of social networking over the Internet.

Leslie’s insight into Google was also interesting. The Google Summer of Code sounds like it would be a great experience for young programmers to be exposed to working on various open source projects that will have a positive effect on other people’s lives. The background information about the open source movement was a repeat of a lot of what we have learned in class, but it was interesting to hear about it from a different perspective. The story about Richard Stallman and the printer, and his desire to modify things to function to his needs was also fascinating.

It was interesting that Leslie does not work with code at her job at Google. It is important to keep in mind that, although a good amount of schooling in computer science relates to code, there are other jobs out there in the field in which no coding expertise is required.

I thought that Leslie’s talk was very informative and entertaining. It gave some interesting insights into the world of open source and what it is like to work at Google.

RAM Comments: Yes, I agree with your concerns about privacy. Several years ago I taught a first year seminar that focused on privacy threats. I'm even more concerned now that I rely on Google mail as well as Google searches -- that's why I asked LH at dinner whether Google is reading my mail. She said no.

The Google Summer-of-Code program is a terrific program. We are modeling our HFOSS Summer Internship Program after it. In our case we provide summer stipends to students to work on various HFOSS Project. You should take a look: http://www.hfoss.org/index.php?page=hfoss-summer-institute. We'll be accepting applications in January.